Archive for July 1st, 2014

Subsidies for the poor or Umno-Putras, part 2

– Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
1 July 2014

In the first part of my article on subsidies for the poor or the rich such as Umno-Putras, I drew attention to the subsidy cut on gas that has come into effect and analysed its impact on poor- and middle-class households.

In this second part, I shall look at the area of subsidies for the cronies of the political elite which run the country – subsidies which are beneath the radar, unaccountable, undeserved and which have been partly responsible for the financial mess that the country is now facing.

What should be in front line of subsidy cuts

What should comprise the first, second or third rung of subsidy cuts to balance the national budget should be open to national debate. Read the rest of this entry »


How ISIS is overshadowing al Qaeda

By Tim Lister, CNN
June 30, 2014

(CNN) — In a bold declaration of its ambition, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has laid claim to leadership of the global Islamist movement, calling on Muslims worldwide to swear allegiance to its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

By claiming such preeminence, ISIS is seeking to eclipse al Qaeda and its leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in what analysts see as the most dramatic shift in militant jihadism since 9/11. But ISIS also makes the outlandish claims — if its words are taken literally — that it leads 1.5 billion Muslims and that the world, not just the deserts of Syria and Iraq, are its new stage.

What did ISIS say?

The declaration was made Sunday in a 34-minute audio message by ISIS spokesman and ideologue Abu Muhammad al-Adnani al-Shami, who said that from now on, ISIS would simply be called the “Islamic State.” That is much more than a change of name; it simultaneously strips away the geographical limits imposed by the previous name and underlines the movement’s control of a wide swath of territory in Iraq and Syria. It even suggests that the group should exercise authority over Islam’s holiest places.

In a direct challenge to al-Zawahiri, al-Shami said it is now “incumbent upon all Muslims to pledge allegiance to the Khalifah Ibrahim and support him.”

Khalifah Ibrahim is the name now given to al-Baghdadi, a secretive figure never seen in ISIS’ voluminous propaganda output. Al-Shami says that al-Baghdadi has accepted the pledge of allegiance offered by senior figures of the “Islamic State.” Read the rest of this entry »


ISIS Threatens Al Qaeda as Flagship Movement of Extremists

New York Times
JUNE 30, 2014

AMMAN, Jordan — As Syria’s civil war raged, a Kuwaiti Islamist, Ghanim al-Mteiri, funneled cash from wealthy donors in the Persian Gulf to Syria’s affiliate of Al Qaeda in hopes that it would overthrow the government and lay the foundations of an Islamic state.

So Mr. Mteiri watched in dismay as another, even more violent jihadist organization, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, seized a chunk of Syria, stormed into Iraq and not only declared itself an Islamic state, but also demanded that all Muslims swear allegiance to its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

For the first time since its emergence more than two decades ago, the Qaeda of Osama bin Laden finds itself facing a rival jihadist organization with the resources and influence to threaten its status as the flagship movement of violent extremism. For the moment, Al Qaeda has lost ground, but the question remains: Will this new group, which now calls itself simply the Islamic State, endure?

Those still allied with Al Qaeda think the new group will fall victim to the same tactics that somehow have simultaneously made it an enemy of the West and of Ayman al-Zawahri, the leader of Al Qaeda.

“We all dream of an Islamic state, but we want a political Islam that is able to stand up and not be erased from the map,” Mr. Mteiri said. “The great powers will never accept this, and they are bigger and stronger than ISIS.” Read the rest of this entry »

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China’s Corruption Crackdown Snares Retired Military Chief

By Bloomberg News
Jul 1, 2014

China expelled a retired deputy commander of the People’s Liberation Army from the Communist Party for bribery, the highest-level military official ensnared for corruption in more than six decades.

Xu Caihou, a former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, the highest military body, was expelled during a meeting of the Politburo presided over by President Xi Jinping, the official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday. Evicting Xu, 71, removes his legal protections as a senior cadre and his case has been handed over to military prosecutors.

The official confirmation of the investigation into Xu, which was opened March 15, comes as Xi campaigns to eradicate corruption from both the party and the 2.3 million-strong PLA, the world’s largest army by headcount. Xi, who took over as head of the CMC when he became party leader in November 2012, is seeking to turn the PLA into a capable fighting force and make the country a maritime power.

The expulsion of Xu shows both the depth of corruption in the army and the progress of Xi’s anti-graft drive, Colonel Liu Mingfu, a professor at China’s National Defense University, said in a phone interview. Read the rest of this entry »


Any back-door attempt to enforce hudud is illegal, says Ambiga

1 July 2014

There is an attempt to rewrite the Federal Constitution by using “the back door” to introduce hudud but that plan will fail as it is illegal, says former Bar Council chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan.

The remark was in reference to a move to table a private member’s bill in Parliament that will allow Kelantan to enforce its Shariah penal code in the PAS-controlled state.

The east coast state has been governed by the Islamist party PAS since 1990.

If passed by a simple majority vote, the bill will give effect to the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Code Enactment II of 1993. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will first expanded Cabinet meeting tomorrow mark the end of 14-month Najib administration on autopilot since 13GE last May?

Malaysians have been hit by the twin disaster of two disappearances.

The first is the 115-day disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370.

Despite the world’s largest and longest land, sea and under-sea search, not only is there no wreckage or debris of the aircraft with 239 passengers and crew on board after nearly four months of search, there is even controversy as to the aircraft’s flight-path and its final destination.

The latest 55-page report released by the Australian Transport Safety Board last Thursday postulated that the MH 370 flight was on autopilot with the passengers and crew having died from suffocation, with the plane likely crashed farther south into the Indian Ocean than previously thought – a distance of some 5,000 kilometres.

The idea of a “ghost plane” for a whole stretch of journey completely on autopilot as far as Kuala Lumpur to New Delhi (3,831), Kabul (4,838 km), Beijing (4,335 km), Seoul (4,662km), Tokyo (5,315 km) or Perth (4,162 km) simply boggles the mind.

But even worse than the 115-day disappearance of the MH370 Boeing 777 is the 422-day disappearance of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was conspicuously absent to provide the hands-on leadership and direction on major issues affecting the country in the past 14 months. Read the rest of this entry »

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Historic sentence for Akil

Haeril Halim
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | July 01 2014

The Jakarta Corruption Court handed down a historic sentence on Monday evening by sentencing 53-year-old former Constitutional Court chief justice Akil Mochtar to life imprisonment, the most severe sentence in the court’s history.

The former Golkar Party politician, who showed no sign of remorse for his wrongdoings, was found guilty of accepting Rp 57 billion (US$4.7 million) in bribes from a number of regional heads to influence decisions on election disputes during his tenure at the court.

The life sentence for Akil marks the first time the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has successfully convinced the court to sentence a graft defendant facing graft or money-laundering charges to life in prison since its establishment in 2003.

The panel of judges at the Jakarta Corruption Court found that Akil, who was formerly a member of the House of Representatives, had laundered Rp 160 billion during his term at the court and Rp 20 billion when he was at the House.

“Our examination has found the defendant guilty of corruption,” presiding judge Suwidya said as he read the verdict at the court on Monday night. Read the rest of this entry »